Communities in the state’s north west will soon have better access to the latest diagnostic imagingtechnology, with NSW’s first mobile CT imaging van officially unveiled by Minister for Health RyanPark today.
CT – or computed tomography – takes detailed images of the internal organs, bones, soft tissue andblood vessels.
The new Remote Mobile CT Service will be used for non-emergency patients to help diagnose causesof pain from muscles or joints, detect diseases or prepare patients for further treatment or surgery.
Minister Park unveiled the Remote Mobile CT service during his visit to Walgett Multipurpose Service.
The ground-breaking service will begin welcoming patients in the coming weeks, and is expected tosee around 1,500 per year as it rotates between Walgett, Bourke and Cobar.
“While I had the pleasure of visiting Walgett Multipurpose Service and meeting the wonderful,committed staff there, the Remote Mobile CT Service was on-site going through its final stages ofpreparation,” Mr Park said.
“Bringing these specialist services closer to people’s homes is tremendously important in this part ofthe state, where the cost and complexity of travel and leaving family or community can be adisincentive."
“There is no fixed CT service between Dubbo and Broken Hill to the west, and the Queensland borderto the north, so this unique service will significantly improve access to this important care for ourremote communities."
“Having the Remote Mobile CT Service at their doorstep will help many patients avoid hours on theroad, some of them up to 10-hour round trips to Dubbo, to have scans."
“It will also be a huge benefit as we continue improving health outcomes among our Aboriginalcommunities.”
Western NSW Local Health District Imaging Services General Manager James Harvey was also atWalgett for the unveiling, and said the service is a fully-equipped CT scanner installed in a custom-builthousing on the back of a rigid truck.
The housing expands to create an air-conditioned scanning room and reception, ensuring patientcomfort.
“The truck has a bed lifter to transfer patients in beds or wheelchairs, and we’ve ensured each hospitalsite in the mobile CT’s rotation has had significant power, data and parking upgrades so the van’sfunctions are the same as a fixed service,” Mr Harvey said.
“A radiographer oversees and runs the service, supported by other health service staff in each locationalong with Aboriginal Health Workers."
“Scans are read by radiologists, who will report on images remotely from other areas of the Districtor from Sydney."
“Many of these patients would previously have needed to consider going to Dubbo for a CT, at thehospital or a private provider."
“On top of improving access to care for patients, this service also helps GPs to provide care locallyand reduces the number of patients transferred to Dubbo from hospitals."
Mr Park also took the time to meet and congratulate Walgett Multipurpose Service’s nursing team,who were announced as the Local Health District’s Nursing Team of the Year as part of InternationalDay of the Nurse celebrations last week.
“It’s well-known how caring and supportive the nursing team at Walgett is and I thoroughlycongratulate them on their deserved award win,” said Roy Butler, Member for Barwon.
“The community here is lucky to have such a dedicated, committed group of nurses.”
Mr Park also visited Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service and the Collarenebri Community HealthCentre Aboriginal Health Centre today, the second day of his trip to Western NSW after touringfacilities in Dubbo and Gilgandra.
“Just like at Dubbo and Gilgandra yesterday, I was thrilled to see how dedicated our healthcareworkers are here in Collarenebri."
“They are all committed to caring for their communities, and I’m committed to supporting them,” MrPark said.